Manitoba RCMP probing woman’s overdose death at home of top municipal official

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s justice minister has asked Mounties to review a fatal overdose of a woman who had been reportedly living at the home of a top official with the City of Brandon.

Cliff Cullen says he has requested the RCMP look at both the circumstances surrounding the death and an investigation into the case by Brandon city police.

The CBC reported this week that 30-year-old Christine Mitchell overdosed in July on a mixture of heroin and other opioids, and that she had been staying at the home of Rod Sage for almost five years.

Sage is Brandon’s chief administrative officer and also a non-voting member of the Brandon police board.

Sage told the CBC he met Mitchell when she was struggling with addiction and mental health issues, and he offered her a place to stay.

Cullen said he called in the RCMP because the case involves a city official and police board member.

“This is why we’ve asked the RCMP to review the circumstances around this situation,” Cullen said Thursday.

“I have tremendous confidence in the RCMP in the province of Manitoba. That’s why we’ve asked them to do a review of the circumstances around that situation.”

Cullen would not discuss further details, citing the ongoing investigation.

Sage told the CBC that his job with the city has nothing to do with how Brandon police investigated the case.

“There’s rules and regulations within the law enforcement of which nobody is above.”

Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest also told The Brandon Sun this week there is no indication that Sage has done anything wrong.

“I fully understand why citizens would be concerned,” Chrest said. “But I’m also concerned that if we start to vilify people who are trying to help people, we’re going to scare off a lot of people who might have otherwise helped somebody out.”

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